Graham cursed at acting DOD chief, declaring himself his 'adversary'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP blocks Schumer effort to adjourn Senate until after election Biden and Schumer face battles with left if Democrats win big Push to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw MORE (R-S.C.) says he confronted President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE’s acting Pentagon chief in a heated exchange over the administration’s Syria strategy.

Speaking to acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE at a briefing at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the senator said he cursed at Shanahan and declared him an adversary.


Graham described his remarks to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, saying he told Shanahan that the Trump administration's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria by the end of April was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Well, if the policy is going to be that we are leaving by April 30, I am now your adversary, not your friend,” Graham said he told Shanahan.

Officials told NBC News about the exchange, with some lawmakers saying the briefing left them with less confidence in Shanahan, and one describing the episode with Graham as “pretty tense.”

Shanahan reportedly further frustrated lawmakers by refusing to state his opinion on President Trump’s Syria decision.

A Defense Department official told NBC News that the meeting “ended on a positive note” despite the tense exchange.

Shanahan stepped into the role of Defense chief after James MattisJames Norman MattisNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter John Kelly called Trump 'the most flawed person' he's ever met: report Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies MORE abruptly left the administration in what was seen as a rebuke of Trump’s Syria strategy.

Graham has been one of the harshest Capitol Hill critics of Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan. He continued that criticism after the exchange with Shanahan, telling the Post’s Rogin: “After Iraq, not only would this be a mistake, this would be almost an unpardonable sin, in the sense that you know what can happen. This can risk his whole presidency.”